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The Snow Walker
The Snow Walker
Actors: Barry Pepper, Annabella Piugattuk, James Cromwell, Kiersten Warren, Jon Gries
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
PG     2005     1hr 30min

When the plane carrying Charlie Halliday, a maverick bush pilot and a sick, young, Inuit woman, Kanaalaq, crashes hundreds of miles from civilization, they are at the mercy of nature?s worst. While search parties try to fi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Barry Pepper, Annabella Piugattuk, James Cromwell, Kiersten Warren, Jon Gries
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: First Look Pictures
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/31/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 11/1/2011...
a really good story that is unusual and keeps the viewer's attention. well worth watching
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Richard R. (RichardR) from PLACITAS, NM
Reviewed on 3/25/2010...
This is a great movie. Whent put tot he test, most of us would do what ever is needed to survive. I recommend this movie for everyone.
Richard R.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
S A A. (Learned2Heal)
Reviewed on 6/11/2009...
An utterly beautiful and arresting movie! An amazing story of an unlikely friendship and respect that evolves between two very disparate people. The cinematography and the landscape are beautiful beyond words and the Inuit customs and means of survival are fascinating.

I read or heard somewhere that the Inuit girl who played this part truly does have the skills she practices in this movie. This was her first acting role. Never took acting lessons. She is a natural talent.

I was floored by how well this touching story was presented and by the overwhelming beauty of that northern landscape. This one is definitely a keeper!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Julie G. from SUGAR GROVE, PA
Reviewed on 5/13/2009...
This film is visually beautiful.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 08/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This wonderful film is based upon the short story, "Walk Well, My Brother", which appears in an anthology of short stories titled, "The Snow Walker", written by Canadian icon, Farley Mowat. The story takes place somewhere near the Artic in 1953 and opens with a shadowy figure traipsing slowly across a frozen wasteland. The film then flashes back to a time three months earlier in a settlement called "Yellow Knife", located somewhere in the Northwest Territories of Canada. A raucous sort of place, the viewer is introduced to a young and handsome, former World War II fighter pilot named Charles Halliday (Barry Pepper). He is a free living, arrogant, hot dogging young gun, who now flies over the frozen wastelands of the far north, working as a bush pilot for a man named Shepherd (James Cromwell).

While making a routine delivery in a desolate area, he is met by a small family of Inuit with a seemingly tubercular daughter (Annabella Piugattuk)) who clearly needs medical attention. They request that Johnny take her to the hospital in Yellow Knife but Johnny refuses to do so. When they bribe him with some valuable ivory tusks, he has a change of heart, taking the young woman on board. Unfortunately, the small aircraft experiences technical difficulties, and they crash in the frozen tundra, a couple of hundred miles from civilization, but are physically relatively unhurt by the crash.

Thinking that he would do better on his own, Charlie divests himself of the young woman, leaving her with some supplies but believing that he is consigning her to her death. He is a young man with little respect for the Inuit people. He simply does not see the value in their culture, which he does not understand, and marches off into the bleak wilderness on his own. He, who is a whiz with machinery, has little knowledge on how to survive in that bleak but beautiful wasteland. Consequently, by the time he is about a week into his trek through this unforgiving tundra, he is overcome by nature and the vicissitudes of this harsh and alien environment. Fortunately for him, the young woman he left behind is far more resourceful than he is. She catches up with him, finding him on the brink of death, and nurses him back to life, becoming the key to his survival.

It is only after all this happens that he bothers to learn that she is called Kanaalaq. Slowly, he learns to connect with this young woman in a way that he has never connected with anyone. He learns to appreciate her, discovering that she is beautiful both inside and out. Through his relationship with Kanaalaq, whom he begins to regard as a little sister, he learns how to love another human being, becoming reborn as a better person in the process. He also learns to connect to the land and, in doing so, finds the strength to survive his ordeal. Kanaalaq ends up giving Charlie Halliday the gift of life.

What happens to Charlie and Kanaalaq, how they manage, and how their relationship develops is at the heart of this film. It is the story of two cultures that come together and seamlessly mesh in order to survive out on the frozen tundra. It is an intensely moving and deeply personal film that is simply beautiful. With a minimum of dialogue, this film sends out a major message.

Barry Pepper is terrific in the role of Charlie Halliday, a flawed human being who manages to overcome his shortcomings and become all the better for his ordeal. He infuses the character with a certain charisma, so that when his shortcomings become apparent, the viewer does not dislike him but, rather, hopes that he will see the error of his ways and find redemption. Newcomer Annabella Piugattuk is simply sensational, giving a well-nuanced and very touching performance in the role of the dying Inuit girl, Kanaalaq. Her role is central to the film, and she is a breakout star. They searched for six months, until they found her, having auditioned hundreds of young women in the process, as they were looking for someone indigenous to the area to fill the female lead. The casting director discovered her at a local teen dance in the Northwest Territories, and what a find she is.

This Canadian production was the recipient of numerous Genie nominations, which are the Canadian equivalent of Academy Award nominations, and are conferred by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. I have to say that, in recent years, I have been mightily impressed with the originality, quality, and sophistication of Canadian films. They are sometimes simply the best films to be found. This one is no exception. Deftly directed by Charles Martin Smith, who is also an actor, he fully understands the concept that less is oftentimes more and exacts powerful performances from the entire cast. Moreover, he perfectly captures the majesty, beauty, and sheer bleakness of the landscape that acts as the backdrop for this beautiful story. Bravo!"
An absolute "gem". And a lot better than the sum of its par
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 08/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The 2003 Canadian film is one of those independent films that I call a "gem". It's a simple story. Set in 1953 in northern Canada, a bush pilot, played by Barry Pepper, agrees to fly a seriously ill young Inuit woman, who seems to have tuberculosis, to a town where she can get medical attention. He's reluctant to do this but her family bribes him with a pair of walrus tusks. Played by first-time actress Annabella Piugattuk, this Intuit woman is outstanding in her role, as she helps the pilot to survive after their plane crashes and also teaches him some valuable lessons about life.

Yes, this is a hackneyed story with no real surprises. But under the expert hand of writer/director Charles Martin Smith, the film comes out better than the sum of its parts. I found myself completely drawn in and also learned a lot about survival in the frozen north. I applaud the director's decision to use an authentic Inuit actress in the main role which made the film seem real. It was well-paced with just enough tension to keep me wondering what would happen next.

This is a fine film and I definitely recommend it. And it is especially good to watch during a summer heat spell."
The Snow Walker - an amazing tale starring Barry Pepper
Eddie Lancekick | Pacific Northwest | 01/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Barry Pepper stars as Charlie Halliday in this film adoption of the Farley Mowat book "Walk well, my brother". Halliday is a rogue and somewhat cocky pilot who one day takes a routine trip that ends up taking on a whole new meaning. Eventually giving in and taking in a sick Inuit woman, they suddenly crash land on their return trip back to the airport. There is just a minor problem: They crash in about a million miles of open, rocky tundra. Okay it's not a million, but when its cold and you are on foot, even 20 miles can be a killer.

Quickly deciding to leave the woman and go for help, Halliday takes off on a 200-mile journey towards the next closest town. After five days, he is beaten down both physically and mentally as nature's table of tundra punishes him on an hourly basis. Cold winds, deep mud and horrendous swarms of mosquitoes are just some of the things Charlie endures in these first few days.

The movie isn't all about "survival" though. The very girl he left back at the plane rescues Charlie, and it's from this point out that the heart of the movie takes full shape. Learning her customs, language, skills of survival and even a little spirituality, the two begin a journey together that you only hope minute after minute, mile after mile, concludes with a happy ending.

Annabella Piugattuk plays the part of Kanaalaq, the Inuit girl who sometimes does not understand Charlie as he retells tales of his WWII bomber days, and other experiences in the city. Many themes are brought out in the movie, and an important scene early on is when Charlie is in a bar (before making the plane trip) and telling an Inuit man "you are not my brother". The saying will come back later to have a full effect in terms of ironic meaning for Charlie. Barry Pepper is superb and overall the movie has an excellent pace that really makes you feel like you are there. A lot of understanding and human spirit comes to mind as I experienced seeing this movie for the first time. My review does not do it justice, so I will simply say it is a "must see"."